"The Obama administration is currently undertaking at least two fundamental reviews of international development policy, one from a national security prespective, the other led by the State Department, of which USAID is a part. There had been rumours that, having originally talked about turning USAID into a stand alone division of government separate from the diplomatic wing of foreign policy, much like Britain’s Department for International Development, Team Obama was leaning towards scrapping USAID altogether. Shah’s nomination lays that idea to rest, and now he will be looked to for big ideas on how to improve the effectiveness of international aid.
USAID’s record is under attack from all sides, from those such as Bill Easterly and Dambisa Moyo, who have argued powerfully that aid harms the world’s poorest countries by breeding corruption and dependency, to the likes of Senator John Kerry, who want aid to play a bigger role in winning the “battle of hearts and minds” in places where America’s enemies currently flourish. Shah’s task will be to develop an aid policy that works on both fronts." (Thanks D.)